On Streamer Upgrades for 2024

I’ve recently twice had a glitch with my OpticalRendu streamer. It may be a network issue upstream (unconfirmed), but in the meantime, I’m a bit nervous that it may be heading south. So, I’m looking to possibly upgrade to something new and better.

Reading through threads, it seems that different streamers “sound different”, but that one streamer may not be inherently ‘better’ than another. It’s hard to believe that would be consensus among this group!

Current setup for running Roon:

Roon Nucleus+ → ethernet → EtherRegen → optical out → OpticalRendu → USB out → PSA MKII Dac

The EtherRegen and OpticalRendu are driven by Farad 3 power supplies.

Everything seems nice.

I’m wondering what might be at a better level, and whether it would be better to find a streamer that has I2S output. Does that even exist?

A SignatureRendu might be better than the OpticalRendu, but that one has only USB output (not that I’m complaining about USB into the MKII… it seems fine.) It would remove one Farad3 from the shelf. I’m all for that.

Beyond that, I have no idea what might be “better”; I just don’t follow manufacturers’ offerings very much.

Again, I have no sonic issues with my current setup, although I’m sure it could be better and I’m in a mood to upgrade if it makes sense. But I have to admit, those small little boxes (Regen, Rendu) tend to run a bit hot, which worries me sometimes. I think it shortens their lifespan… sort of like having a hyperactive Yorkie. I speak from experience, there.


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Off the top of my head:

PSA AirLens
Holo Red
Rockna Wavedream NET

There are several more that I am aware of but can’t recall at the moment.

(Maybe I misunderstood your plight?)

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Price range?

Thanks, @scotte1 I don’t think you misunderstood. I’m just looking/wondering what might be better sounding – and more solid – than my current setup.

Of the above, Holo Red seems to be out of stock. Rockna has functionality (e.g., CD) that I don’t need. And the Mano Ultra appears to come with a Farad power supply, of which I already have two!

Of course, I can always trial an AirLens to see how it sounds. It has the advantage of I2S out, and removing a Farad3 from the shelf. However, it doesn’t have optical-in, which is something I tend to believe in.

That makes me wonder: Has anyone poked an SFP cage into the ethernet-in of the AirLens? If that would work, I could run ethernet → EtherRegen → optical out → AirLens → DAC.

Another question: AirLens claims galvanic isolation and reclocking. Is it enough to make optical input superfluous? Would optical be unnecessary or redundant?

Don’t care much.

(Channeling my inner Al.)


I’m no expert but I think a system with optical upstream of the AirLens Ethernet input would be a very quiet and efficient combination.


You might find this thread informative:

Good luck.

Okay, so maybe we’re on to something.

Question stands: Has anyone attempted optical-in on the AirLens? Anybody? :person_raising_hand:

Well in that case the new Aries G2.2. I’m going to pick one up after the first of the year. Mature app and plenty of output choices. If not wanting to go that high the G1.1 which is on sale.

If you want to use fiber optic link, the converter quality is crucial to achieve the best SQ. In fact, I use an LHY SW-10 switch that offers two F.O. connectors. My streamer, Lumin U2, has a F.O. input so I can connect both with F.O. directly. This has improved the SQ greatly over other type of connections.

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Make the effort to try to solve the issue you are having with the OpticalRendu. As far as Streamers go it is a nice piece of gear. The Signature Rendu is really easy to enjoy. It is obviously better for the price, but perhaps not the jump you are looking for. The Grimm MU1 is your proper endgame. I am confident the MU2 would allow you to set aside the MK2. If you decide to try either contact me and I will tell you who you need to buy it from. (Hint, discount)


Lot of great suggestions at various price points! I’ll throw one more name into the fray. Good luck and let us know where you land

I have a bias of course, as I recently added a K22 that I’m kinda sweet on🙂

Scott at Verdant is most helpful


Tell us more!

I am really beginning to understand the alure of digital since I installed the server, not suggesting that many other server/players would not have done the same. I was streaming tidal via PC/Audirvana

I have the option of either adding a K41 (K41 as server + K22 as player) or go to a K50, which equates to a K41 + K22 combo

I am now using Roon as opposed to HQ Player and find it much more user friendly and sounds just as good to my ear

I am also ripping cd’s and pulling downloads from HD tracks like it’s my job, which is fun!

Good, comprehensive review:
Antipodes K41 and K22 Music Servers | HFA - The Independent Source for Audio Equipment Reviews (hifi-advice.com)

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When you get a chance (and if you are so inclined), please let us know how your downloads and ripped files compare to listing via Roon/Tidal to similar if not identical tracks streaming from the Interwebs.


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Lots of streamers and music servers out at difference price points. But, if I were looking for a good streaming setup, I would invested in a good linear PSU and a network switch and use something as basic as PI4 as an endpoint. Add a good reclocker before feeding the signal into the DAC. I’ve had streamers ranging from $400 Bridge II all the way to $6K+ purpose built music servers, and learned that where you get the greatest leap is clean power and noise isolation. I just sold my Auralic G2 with Hoer-Wege PSU upgrade and replaced it with a Raspberry Pi4 streamer. The difference is that all my source components (LHY SW6 Switch, Roon Core, PI4, Matrix DDC) are fed by a decent LPS (HDPlex 300W). USB signal gets converted to I2S via Matrix and fed to my MK1 DAC via RAL HDMI cable. I’ve done extensive A/B comparison between this set up and Auralic G2. The result? The Auralic left for another home. This is something I did not expect to happen.

Looking at Antipodes, they are basically doing the same thing. It looks like a simple streamer, a reclocker, a good PSU in a single box. I think one can achieve similar result with much less than $9K (personally, I’ve never used this box, but based on my comparison with Auralic G2 + Hoer-Wege, I feel I am not far off here). If I had $9K for a music server budget, I’d certainly make the leap for Grim Audio MU1.


Glad you found a chain that’s works for your needs, part of what make This forum so good is the various experiences of the members

Nice set-up!

I am happy with my digital set-up, it meets my needs and tastes perfectly at this time, maybe for my lifetime…

I utilize an HDPlex as well supplying a Fidelizer modded Cisco switch. Also use a Pink Faun Ethernet isolator and JCAT usb isolator

I’m very comfortable with my cost to satisfaction ratio and feel the Antipodes fits well with the rest of my system


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Something caught my eye and I thought you might be interested:

Oh boy!



This is how dangerous this forum can do to me. I love my Lumin U2, and I am getting great sound that matches PST by adding two switches (LHY SW-6 and SW-10). With these two I can use optical link between them. Also, I use a Shunyata Omega ethernet cable connecting SW-10 and U2. From U2 I use another Shunyata Omega USB from U2’s dedicated USB output connecting to DS MK2. This setup gives me incredible SQ. On the storage side I use a Samsung 4TB external SSD with a Nordust c/a usb (do not even remember the model but it is their topline for this type of connector). I have done a ton of research and decided not to use NSA and went with a quieter SSD. Even SSD makes a difference and Samsung T7 is the one I like the best. AC cords are mostly AQ Dragon Sources.

This review still rattles me. Should I get the L2 to match with U2? They will match perfectly and look great on my rack. Will this combo beat my current setup?

No, I cannot go here. :thinking:

Buy it, sell some switches and fancy cables (and anything else made superfluous)…end up with more convenience and better price point and, maybe, better sound…?